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Emotional Intelligence


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Emotional Intelligence: Its Role in Leadership and Organizational Success

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Emotional Intelligence

  1. 1. Emotions and Emotional IntelligenceAn Emotion is a physiological response to a situation that is tooimportant to leave to intellect alone, such as danger, painful loss,persisting towards a goal despite frustrations, bonding with a mate, andbuilding a family. In effect, we have two minds, one that thinks and onethat feels. The brain evolved over a million years to deal with the majorchallenges of survival - whether to fight or flee, ignore, or embrace theapproaching challenge (Goleman, 1995).While we use hundreds of wordsto describe emotions, they are commonly related to about eight basicemotions: anger, fear, happiness, sadness, love, surprise, disgust, andshame. Paul Ekman, head of the Human Interaction Laboratory at theUniversity of California, has found that there are characteristic facialexpressions to describe the first four of these, which have been found tobe consistent in all cultures, including primitive ones with no access tothe outside world (Ekman, 1994).In articles published in 1990, Psychologists Jack Mayer and PeterSalovey coined the term emotional intelligence, referring to constellationof abilities through which people deal with their own emotions and thoseof others. They did later define Emotional Intelligence as the ability toperceive emotional information and use it to guide thoughts and actions.Hence they did distinguish it from cognitive intelligence, which is used todetermine academic success. Properly used, the emotions are an essentialtool for successful and fulfilling life. But out of control, emotions canresult in disaster. In our day- to-day life, they affect our relations withother people, our self-identity, and our ability to complete a task. To beeffective, our cognitive processes must be in control of our emotions, sothat they work for us rather than against us (Salovey, 1990). DanielGoleman did broaden the aspect of Emotional Intelligence by describingthe abilities that help people adapt to all aspects of life, through his bookEmotional Intelligence in the year 1995. Following are measures ofeffective use of emotions, i.e. Emotional Intelligence as mentioned byDaniel Goleman in his book.1.Knowing one’s emotions:Self-awareness –recognizing a feeling as ithappens – is the keystone of EQ. The ability to monitor feelings frommoment to moment, cognitively as well as effectually,is crucial topsychological insight and self- understanding. An inability to read ourtrue feelings leaves us at their mercy (Goleman, 1995).
  2. 2. 2.Managing emotions:Handling feelings so they are appropriate is anability that builds self-awareness. Having the capacity to soothe oneself,shake off rampant anxiety, gloom or irritability is critical to recoveryfrom life’s setbacks and upsets (Goleman, 1995).3. Motivating Oneself: Marshaling emotions in the service of a goal isessential for paying attention, for self-motivation and mastery, and forcreativity. Emotional self-control – delaying gratification and stiflingimpulsiveness –underlies accomplishment of every sort. And being ableto get into the “flow state” (to be described below) enables outstandingperformance of all kinds. People with this skill are more highlyproductive and effective at whatever they undertake (Goleman, 1995).4.Recognizing emotions in others: Empathy, another ability that builds onemotional self-awareness, is the fundamental “people skill.” People whoare empathic are attuned to the subtle social signals that indicate whatothers need or want. Empathy kindles altruism, which is the basis forsocial morality (Goleman, 1995).5.Handling Relationships: The art of relationships is, in large part, skill inmanaging emotions in others. This ability undergirds leadership andinterpersonal effectiveness (Goleman, 1995).Emotional Intelligence and LeadershipEmotional Intelligence refers to the ability to understand and explainemotions and use emotions to enhance the thought of others. “EmotionalIntelligence can be misunderstood and misrepresented. But the bottomline is that the one who can think about emotions accurately and clearlymay often be better able to anticipate, cope with, and effectively managechange” (Mayer and Caruso, 2002). According to Salovey and Mayer(1990) the two distinct mental processes, thinking and feeling, actuallyworks together. The theory focuses on the extent to which peoplescognitive capabilities are informed by emotions and extend to whichemotions being cognitively managed (George, 2000). There are many
  3. 3. models of EI (Emotional Intelligence) currently available like MultifactorEmotional Intelligence Scale (MEIS; Mayer et al., 1999), the MayerSalovey Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test etc.Leadership can be described as a process of social interaction where theleader’s ability to influence the behavior of their followers can stronglyinfluence the performance outcomes(Humphery, 2002; Pirola-Merlo, 2002). It is an emotional process in which leaders tend to recognizethe emotional state of their followers, attempt to evoke emotions infollowers and then seek to manage the emotional states of their followersaccordingly. This ability to influence their emotional states can stronglyinfluence their performance (Humphrey, 2002).Emotional Intelligenceforms a key factor in an individual’s ability to be socially effective(George, 2000; Mayer et al., 2000b). The argument made by George(2000) is that, emotionally intelligent leaders can promote effectivenessat all levels in organizations. Leaders with high levels of emotionalintelligence will have effective and smooth emotional interactions withtheir team members. Individuals with higher ability to perceiveaccurately, understand, and appraise others emotions were better able torespond flexibly to the changes in various social environments and buildsupportive networks (Salovey et al., 1999).Emotional Intelligence and Organizational SuccessEQ (Emotional Quotient) is a broad term encompassing awareness ofones own emotions and their effect on others as well as how to manageand restrain those emotions in a healthy and productive manner. Inaddition, it helps to intuitively read peoples reactions and treat peopleaccordingly which enables to build good rapport, trust, relationships andnetworks.“People with high Emotional Intelligence will build real socialfabric within an organization, and between an organization and those itserves, whereas those low in Emotional Intelligence may tend to createproblems for the organization through their individual behaviors”(Mayer,2002). In an Organization emotionally mature team leaders will be highlymotivated and will have a high driving passion for their work. Suchleaders will be optimistic, resilient, adaptable, trustworthy andpersuasive. They are always open to change and will also lead changeefficiently. The Emotional skills will help leaders to understand theirteam members and thus build, lead and inspire efficient teams towardssuccess. Team Members depend on them for consistency, good judgmentand the ability to do the right thing at the right time.Emotionally
  4. 4. intelligent leaders are often blamed as being too soft, nice andemotional.But they can confront sticky situations with extreme self-confidence and behave assertively when necessary. This enables them tokeep the team in an engaged, participative and collaborative mode whilesubtly moving them in the right direction. By successfully connectingwith the entire team, they directly affect team morale, performance andefficiency.This is not to say that cognitive skills or technical skills arerendered any less relevant.They are essential drivers of a team leaderssuccess but never as important as the emotional skills factor.Daniel Goleman, the author of Emotional Intelligence did explain about itin his book as follows, “They do matter, but mainly as ‘thresholdcapabilities; that is, they are the entry-level requirements for executivepositions. But my research, along with other recent studies, clearly showsthat emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, aperson can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analyticalmind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still wont make agreat leader”(Goleman, 1995). According to Warren Bennis, author of OnBecoming a Leader, “In those fields I have studied, emotionalintelligence is much more powerful than IQ in determining who emergesas a leader. IQ is a threshold competence. You need it, but it doesnt makeyou a star. Emotional intelligence can” (Bennis, 1989). Daniel Golemanfurther adds, “When I calculated the ratio of technical skills, IQ andemotional intelligence as ingredients of excellent performance, emotionalintelligence proved to be twice as important as the others for jobs at alllevels” (Goleman, 1995). During my career as Head of Administrationsin hotel industry, I have observed that team leaders powered withcompassion and understanding of human nature was able to buildsuccessful teams. They were able to manage emotional issues of theirteams, deal with contentious members, respond genuinely to membersfrustrations/concerns, handle unexpected disappointments and also acceptrapid changes in the workplace, all with a level head and strong sense ofself. It is not that everyone is born with strong emotional skills, but it canbe strengthened and even learned with the right attitude, commitment tochange and willingness to face ones own flaws. A combination of carefullistening, observing and seeking feedback can help eliminate oldbehaviors and imbibe new approaches. But it is not easy and takes lot ofpersistence, practice and dedication to truly change for the better. Manyorganizations have taken to building competency models to help identify,train and promote emotionally intelligent employees for future leadershippositions. According to me, technical skills and emotional skills form twoparts of the whole for a successful team leader. A right blend of both is
  5. 5. what makes a team leader complete and successful.Key Questions Before Us :1. Does Emotional Intelligence play a major role in OrganizationalSuccess?2. Are Emotional skills as important as Cognitive skills for LeadershipSuccess?3. Should the current educational and organizational training methods bemodified so as to include, various practices and methods that will helpdevelop emotional skills in students and employees?4. Are their any efficient training methods adopted to develop emotionalskills in employees?BibliographyBennis, W. (1989). On Becoming a Leader. Addison Wesley: New York.Coleman, M., Briggs, A.R.J. (2002) Research Methods in EducationalLeadership and Management, London: Paul Chapman PublishingEkman, P. and Davidson R. (1994). Fundamental Questions AboutEmotions. Oxford University Press: New York.George, J.M. (2000), “Emotions and leadership: the role of emotionalintelligence”,Human Relations, Vol. 53, pp. 1027-55.Goleman, D. (1995).Emotional Intelligence.Bantam Books: New York.Humphrey, R.H. (2002), “The many faces of emotional leadership”, TheLeadership Quarterly, Vol. 13 No. 5, pp. 493-504.Kerr, R., Garvin, J., Heaton, N. and Boyle. E. (2006). EmotionalIntelligence and Leadership effectiveness.Leadership & OrganizationDevelopment Journal. Vol.27, No.4,pp. 265-279.Mayer, J.D., Caruso, D.R. and Salovey, P. (1999), “Emotional
  6. 6. intelligence meets traditional standards for an intelligence”, Intelligence,Vol. 27, pp. 267-98.Mayer, J.D., Caruso, D.R. and Salovey, P. (2000a), “Emotionalintelligence as Zeitgeist, as personality, and as a mental ability”, in Bar-On, R. and Parker, J.D.A. (Eds), The Handbook of EmotionalIntelligence: Theory, Development, Assessment, and Application atHome, School and in the Workplace, Jossey-Bass/Wiley, New York, NY.Mayer. J.D and Caruso, D. (2002). The Effective Leader: Understandingand Applying Emotional Intelligence. Improving the Practice ofManagement. Ivey Business Journal.Mayer, J.D., Caruso, D.R. and Salovey, P. (2000c), “Selecting a measureof emotional intelligence: the case for ability scales”, in Bar-On, R. andParker, J.D.A. (Eds), The Handbook of Emotional Intelligence: Theory,Development, Assessment, and Application at Home, School and in theWorkplace,Jossey-Bass/Wiley, New York.Pirola-Merlo, A., Hartel, C., Mann, L. and Hirst, G. (2002), “How leadersinfluence the impact of affective events on team climate and performancein R&D teams”,The Leadership Quarterly, Vol. 13, pp. 561-81.Redman, L.V. and Mory, A.V.H. (1952).The Romance of Research, p.10.Salovey, P. andMayer, J. (1990). Emotional Intelligence," Imagination,Cognition, and Personality:9,pp.185-211.Salovey, P., Bedell, B., Detweiler, J.B. and Mayer, J.D. (1999), “Copingintelligently: emotional intelligence and the coping process”, in Snyder,C.R. (Ed.), Coping: The Psychology of What Works, Oxford Universitypress, New York, NY, pp. 141-64.Saunders, M., Lewis, P., Thornhill, A. (2009) Research methods forbusiness students, Harlow:Pearson Education Limited, 5th ed.The Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English, Oxford, 1952, p.1069.Slesinger, D. and Stephenson, M. (1930). The Encyclopaedia of SocialSciences, Vol. IX, MacMillan.